Paul – a vegan?

For as many years as I care to remember I’ve suffered with gout and inflammation in my feet. Following a rather ‘big’ few weeks celebrating my son’s 21st birthday and my mum’s 70th as well as the birth of our first grandchild, I spent nearly 3 solid weeks in agony. Unable to do my weight training at the gym, I would just spend the evenings drinking more and hating my body.

The pain of gout

“What if I could do a reset, like a CTRL+ALT+DELETE on my body?” That thought had crossed my mind a number of times, but what did it actually mean? how could I do that. I’d often joked with my wife about turning Pescatarian just to do something different. Then opportunities presented…

At a conference with the amazing Krista Tier and I was introduced to Damien Turner from Garden of Vegan (GOV from here). My first impressions were somewhat stereotypical, thinking “oh, you’re one of those guys huh?”.

What does a vegan zombie eat? ….. GRAAAAAAINS!!!

As the morning went on there was some comments made about my thoughts on resetting my body to help with the swelling, and a documentary currently showing on Netflix – The Game Changers. It piqued my interest so I watched it that night.

Mind blown! I made a decision that night to totally change my eating habits. I wanted a plant based whole food way of life. Day 2 of the conference I had oat milk in my coffee, I had the vegetarian sandwich on rye for lunch, I was pumped. The next 7 days were not too much of a struggle, I still had my beer, just didn’t eat any meat… with the exception of some jars of cockles, and a couple of prawns in my soup. I’d placed an order with Garden of Vegan to try a few of their dishes out, but otherwise was happy with my salads, veggies and fruit.

Then the team at GOV approached me and asked if I would take part in a pilot program, a six week challenge to transform my health. Hell yes! Oh wait, it was going to require me to commit 100% for 42 days, eating only the foods they provided, NO alcohol, NO caffeine, NO cigars. It’s not a choice I made lightly, some of those things were my go to evening relax, plus I’d even fallen in love with my local vegan pizza… here I was agreeing to stick to the rules.

I dropped the caffeine before the challenge started, and the other things the night before. As I write this the stats are:

  • Day 13 without “meat”, but;
  • Day 6 of being vegan
  • Day 9 without caffeine
  • Day 6 without alcohol
  • Day 6 without nicotine

Some fun facts so far:

  • I have more energy than before I started this journey.
  • I have lost weight already
  • I have lost inches already
  • I do not feel deprived (well just a little on some things)
  • My sleep is consistent and restful
  • I am enjoying the challenge

I’m going to wait until the end of the journey to publish the actual stats of my weight, measurements and sleep studies. As a baseline I have also had blood tests, ultrasound (how fatty was my liver!) and doppler scans to check blood flow through my arteries and for plaque build up.

I know before starting the challenge I had misconceptions about vegan food, in fact my usual joke was “the cow eats the grass, I eat the cow, best of both worlds”. Little did I understand that there was an element of truth in that, about the grass at least! But how could I get my proteins from a vegan diet? with meals like these, how can I not!!!

At the end of the day I know it is not for everyone, I’m just going to be sharing about my journey and see how I am at the end of six weeks. If week 1 is anything to go by then I’m super excited.

A BIG thank you to Mel, Damien, Benny, Gareth, Druen and all the team at Garden of Vegan, you’re all an inspiration and I can’t thank you enough for taking me on this journey, you can visit their Facebook page.

Also to Dr Simon Ooi and Robyn Chuter whose input and support has been amazing as well.